Thursday, November 30, 2006

War Wagon in the South Bronx

Firehouse 71 in the South Bronx calls itself the War Wagon - perhaps referencing the fires that ravaged the South Bronx in the 70s, or perhaps signaling a 'pull your wagons 'round' seige mentality.

Company 71 has been serving the Morrisania neighborhood since 1899. On the 100th anniversary of the company, the company reminiscenced about the early days of the company:

The work chart for the turn of the century fireman was very simple. He worked a 24-hour tour for five days in a row with one day off. Twice a month he could take a 12-hour leave, which could not be used with his 24-hour leave. He could go home for meals three times a day for an hour each time or he could go home twice a day for an hour and half or once for three hours. Back during this time, the Bronx was a slow area and occasionally a fire run would come in. Most of the time the men would be busy caring for the horses, house watch duties, building and hydrant inspections, messenger duties to the Battalion or Division and being detailed to another fire company for sick or vacation time. Another duty was the theater detail where one man would be assign to a movie house to make sure the theater was not over crowded and the aisles block. This duty was rotated around the men in the company. Some districts had several movie houses while other few or none.
Life's a little different now, but the War Wagon's still there.

For another quirky New York firehouse, check out The Friendly Firehouse of Flatbush Ave.

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